Sunday, May 31, 2015
EU judges sentence 11 Kosovo Albanians for war crimes
[JURIST] Judges of the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) [official website] in Kosovo issued verdicts in the Drenica I and Drenica II [press releases] cases on Wednesday and sentenced 11 Kosovo Albanian men to prison. The charges included the intentional perpetration of violence, cruel treatment, beating, torture, humiliating and degrading treatment of civilians and for some the killing of a Serbian police officer. All of the acts were committed between June and September of 1998 at a Kosovo Liberation Army detention center in Likovac. The sentenced men include [Reuters report] Kosovo's current ambassador to neighboring Albania, Sylejman Selimi, and two close allies to the former Prime Minister Hashim Thaci [Britannica bio]. The prison sentences range from three to 12 years.
EULEX was created [JURIST report] in 2008 to investigate crimes committed by ethnic Albanian rebels during the 1998 war with Serbia [BBC backgrounder]. Various courts and organizations have been dedicated to prosecuting war crimes committed on both sides of the conflict, resulting in convictions of both Serbian and Kosovar [JURIST reports] participants. Rebels during the conflict allegedly killed approximately 400 civilians. In April 2013 Serbia and Kosovo entered [JURIST report] into a historic agreement on EU membership, signaling a reduction in hostility between the two nations.